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Game Score: Twins 5, Astros 3


The Minnesota Twins’ bats got off to a quick start and Griffin Jax recorded his first Major League victory as a starter in what was a 5-3 win for the Twins over the Houston Astros.
 

Box Score
Jax: 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 K
Home Runs: None
Top 3 WPA: Larnach .130, Jax .116, Thielbar .071

Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

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After a lackluster performance on Wednesday afternoon’s getaway game, the Minnesota Twins were hoping to get off to a quicker start in the first game of their four-game road series against the Houston Astros. The Twins got the start that they were looking for as their offense exploded out to a 4-0 lead in the 2nd inning, thanks to RBI from Willians Astudillo, Trevor Larnach, Andrelton Simmons and Jorge Polanco, who continued his torrid stretch on Thursday evening.

The four runs of support turned out to be all that Twins’ starter Griffin Jax needed as he kept the Astros bats quiet all night, allowing just one hit through the first five innings, until “old friend” Jason Castro finally put the Astros on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the 6th inning. On the night, Jax pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and one walk. While Jax didn’t accumulate any strikeouts, he had Houston’s talented hitters on their heels the entire night and posted the best start of his young Major League career.

After Jax was removed from a 4-1 ballgame, Andrelton Simmons provided the Twins with an insurance run in the top of the 8th inning with an RBI bunt single to score newly called up Rob Refsnyder.

 

The Minnesota Twins’ bullpen was looking strong on the night with scoreless appearances from Caleb Thielbar, Tyler Duffey and Jorge Alcala before reliever Danny Coulombe made things interesting in the bottom of the 9th inning when he allowed Yordan Alvarez to smack a two-run home run to right field to draw the Twins’ lead down to two. Fans were nervous when Baldelli called on Alexander Colomé to close out the game for Coulombe, but he was able to answer the bell and give the Twins the victory.

Raising Money For a Good Cause

A fun part of the broadcast tonight was the annual Twins’ Community Fund Broadcast Auction that was run to benefit the Twins’ charity. In total, over $84,000 was raised for the Twins’ Community Fund and some pretty cool items were auctioned off.

Postgame Press Conference

 

What’s Next?

The Minnesota Twins will send rookie Bailey Ober to the mound tomorrow night to face off against veteran right hander, Zack Grienke for a 7:10pm showdown in Houston.

Bullpen Usage Chart

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Nice, effective, outing for Jax.  Still think he's a reliever at this level, but I'll take what he gave last night.

I tuned in after the 2nd inning and noticed that the team was 3 for 4 with RISP only to see them go 1 for 10 the remainder of the game.  That sort of thing will never not drive me nuts.

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Credit where it's due - nice job by Jax. Wish the team could have piled on a bit more after the big inning, but we've seen enough to know that's not how it's working in 2021.

We'll take a win over the 'Stros any day. Would be nice to see the Twins win this series.

Robby Ref picking up right where he left off, in the middle of all the offense.

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I like Jax as a pitcher but as always I am concerned his lack of K's is going to lead to greater inconsistency in results.  He got hit hard at times but the ball was right at players in the field so no damage done but on nights where the hits are falling in it can be quite a different story.  Still feel like he has quality stuff just would be nice if he found an out pitch to go with his current stuff.  He was brilliant last night so kudos on a well pitched game.

Refsnyder might be the best hitter on this team at least until he slows down.  Another great night and they didn't want to pitch to him as he walked twice.

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Woah.  I had to look out the window just now to make sure the world had not frozen over.

Baldelli pulled Jax in a mid-inning, before the meltdown was done.

And, get this, and THEN he did the same thing in the 9th and pulled Coulombe after he coughed up two runs, but before he gave up the lead.

What the heck's going on?

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Jax had some good fortune in this outing. He wasn't fooling anyone, and was getting hit pretty regularly, just right at someone or just inside the park. I remember Scott Diamond. Gotta take the good when you can, especially this year.

I can't say that I am rooting for Jax and Ober et al to do all that well. If they do, the FO is likely to go with them for next year instead of getting better pitching for this team, which has been their great failure.

Looking at the Bullpen Usage Chart, and the names in it....... really is depressing.

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